NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter
Last updated date: October 19, 2020
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We looked at the top USB WiFi Adapters and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best USB WiFi Adapter you should buy.
High-gain antennas built into this adapter give you excellent range and performance. The adapter works only with Windows 7, 8, 10, XP or Vista, so that is a downside if you have a Mac or Linux machine. It uses beam-forming+ technology to keep your connection reliable and strong. In our analysis of 11 expert reviews, the NETGEAR NETGEAR AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter placed 6th when we looked at the top 7 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note October 19, 2020:
Checkout The Best USB WiFi Adapter for a detailed review of all the top usb wifi adapters.
Expert Summarized Score
User Summarized Score
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From The Manufacturer
Ultimate range and performance. High-gain antennas.System Requirements Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, XP, Vista: (32/64-bit). Intel Pentium class PC. Faster access with USB 3.0; compatible with USB 2.0. USB 3.0 Adapter. High gain antennas for improved performance.Compatible with USB 2.0 and the latest 11ac WiFi devices and backward compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n devices. Beam forming+ technology boosts speed, range and reliability.Desktop Dock for flexible placement. WiFi Performance:AC1200 (300 Mbps / 867 Mbps).
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On USB WiFi Adapters
Every laptop and desktop computer is built with wireless functionality, which is how you connect up to the WiFi in your home, office or other location. Sometimes that connection can be spotty, though, especially if you’re taking your laptop on the road with you. For that unreliability, a WiFi adapter can come in handy.
A WiFi adapter overrides that built-in function, giving your computer a direct connection from your device’s USB port to the surrounding WiFi signal. In order to use one of these connectors, you’ll need a USB port on the device you plan to use with it, and not all adapters are compatible with all operating systems. If you use Mac or Linux, specifically, you’ll need to double-check to ensure that your chosen adapter isn’t compatible only with Windows machines.
If you’re buying a WiFi adapter, make sure you’re getting the latest technology. Today’s standard of IEEE 802.11ac is three times faster than Wireless N speeds. However, the next standard, IEEE 802.11ax, is already being built into devices so you may find your technology is bested by devices widely available next year. Still, you’ll find 802.11ac is plenty fast to give your connection a big boost.
One thing to consider as you’re picking out a WiFi adapter is the design of the device itself. They come in a variety of form factors, some more intrusive than others. You can find adapters so small that you’ll barely even notice them as they’re plugged in. However, if you’re buying an adapter for a desktop computer, it will likely be out of sight, out of mind, which frees you up to choose the adapter that perfectly fits your needs — regardless of the build.
Keep in mind that a USB adapter will take up one of your ports. If you only have one or two, as some modern laptops do, you may find you’re seriously missing the extra port. You can buy a USB port expander that will give you those extra ports you need. However, this also will take up space around your laptop, potentially getting in the way of the work you’re trying to do.
DWYM Fun Fact
WiFi is so prevalent today, it’s easy to take it for granted, but it hasn’t been around forever. It has, however, been around long before most consumers began using it, as it began in Hawaii in 1979.
Early WiFi was called ALOHAnet and introduced multiple technologies, including the use of packets, random access and wireless computer communications. It was a full 20 years before AT&T and NCR came up with WaveLAN, which is now considered to be the real WiFi predecessor.
Contrary to popular perception, WiFi is not short for “wireless fidelity.” The abbreviation was conceived in 1999 by the WiFi Alliance without additional meaning.
The USB WiFi Adapter Buying Guide
- If you have a Mac machine, keep in mind USB ports have been replaced with lightning ports. That means you’ll need to buy an adapter to connect your USB adapter to, which won’t make it quite as compact and space-saving as advertised.
- In most cases, your WiFi adapter should be “plug and play,” but in some instances, you could have to download drivers. Even if your computer immediately recognizes it, it can’t hurt to check for updates from the manufacturer’s website, especially if you experience problems or disappointing performance.
- One of the biggest benefits of a USB adapter is that it lets you upgrade your WiFi performance without buying a new computer or router.
- For intense activities like gaming and streaming, make sure you choose an adapter with a data transfer rate of at least 500 Mbps.
- Routers operate on different protocols. For best results, look for an adapter that is on the same protocol as your router. This will be either WEP, WPA or WPA2.
- For best results, look for a dual-band adapter, which works on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band. That will give you a better connection while also keeping interference at a minimum.
- If your adapter has antennas that can be adjusted, look for one with a wide range of motion. This will help you find the perfect direction.
- Some WiFi adapters serve a dual purpose. They can help strengthen a WiFi signal on a device, but they can also turn a computer into a hotspot. That means you can set up one desktop or laptop to send a signal to multiple approved devices in your area.
- The USB connector itself can slow things down. Look for the newer USB 3.0, which will keep things much speedier than USB 2.0.